Nail surgery for ingrown toenails

Ingrown Nail Surgery

Nail surgery is a common and effective treatment for painful, long-standing ingrown toenails that have not resolved with conservative care. It is a safe and effective procedure performed in a sterile environment by one of our experienced Podiatrist. Nail surgery may be suggested if the problem is recurring regularly, causing ongoing pain or infection.

What is a Partial Nail Avulsion (PNA)?

Partial Nail Avulsion (PNA) surgery is most commonly performed to alleviate the pain, discomfort, and potential complications caused by an ingrown toenail. It is a highly effective solution to recurrent ingrown toenails with a low recurrence rate.

The procedure involves removing the portion of the ingrown nail that is causing the problem and generally will not cause significant cosmetic damage. A local anaesthetic will be used to numb your toe prior to performing the procedure.

PNA - portion of nail removed

How does it work?

At your initial consultation, your Podiatrist will decide whether nail surgery is recommended for you. If nail surgery is recommended and agreed upon, your Podiatrist will need to perform the required pre-surgical neurovascular assessments, and then rebook for nail surgery once approved.

On the day of surgery, your Podiatrist will first numb the toe with a local anaesthetic. Once the toe is completely numb, we will then create a straight cut through the nail and remove the offending spicule. A chemical agent (phenol) will be placed at the base of the nail to destroy the nail matrix and prevent the nail from growing back. 


This minimally invasive procedure will take about 15 minutes and your consultation will take 60 minutes. The duration of the procedure may vary depending on the number of sides of the toenail that will be removed.

After the surgery, your Podiatrist will dress the toe with sterile dressings and you will be provided with some post-operative instructions. We will review the nail 24-72 hours post-procedure to assess for any signs of infection. For the first few days, you will be wearing open shoes, and we recommend you rest your feet for the first 2 days.

Am I suitable for the surgery?

PNAs are generally safe for all healthy individuals suffering from recurrent ingrown nails.

However, there are some conditions that may require further assessments in order to ensure your suitability for the surgery, and may include:

  • Diabetes with diabetic foot complications (peripheral neuropathy, peripheral vascular disease)
  • Bleeding disorders
  • History of poor wound healing
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding

This will all be discussed and assessed by your Podiatrist at your initial consultation.

What is the recovery time after the surgery?

You can be walking and weightbearing immediately after the surgery. After the first few days, you can resume normal activities and you can restart sporting activities after about 2 to 3 weeks.

Our Podiatrists are looking forward to helping you!